Archive for category Oregon

Sam Adams Policies are anti-family

Reading this editorial I realized one thing:  Sam Adams doesn’t live a life with kids.  Of course, I already knew that given the public airing of his dirty laundry, but having been a vicitim of these “Green Streets” projects, it is pretty clear to me.  We live off of Hawthorne in a relatively busy neighborhood, which tends to have a lot of families with kids.  One common element with those  families is that they all have to drive their kids to various activities and locations.  Biking is really not an option, most of the destination are spread throughout Southeast Portland, and carrying twenty pounds of baseball gear on a bike just isn’t a good idea.   As a result of this need to drive, we have cars.  Cars have to be parked somewhere.  One of the charms of the neighborhood is that many of the houses don’t have driveways.  They didn’t really need them when the houses were built, so people park their cars on the street.  In addition, we have had two condos constructed in our neighborhood in the last five years.  One of them has three offstreet parking places for the twelve units, and the other has no offstreet parking for the twenty-four units.  The City’s policy is that since the condos were built within 100 feet of a bus stop, they don’t require offstreet parking.  The unfortunate thing is that every single person that has moved into the 24 unit condo has two cars.  The available parking in the neighborhood has disappeared.  These condos are a direct push for “high density housing”, which is another Adams policy of note. 

Back to the “Green Streets” project:  The parking study for it was done prior to the construction of the condos.  These curb extensions eat up many of the preexisting parking spaces, which makes the parking all the worse.  In the early stages of the project, various families in the neighborhood tried to point this out to the group in charge of the project.  They made small allowances, but nothing significant.   In personal experience my family has  lost two parking spaces in front of our house.  For what?  The argument is that it reduces stormwater backup, and provides filtering.  Well, with yesterday’s rain, ALL of these additions  in our neighborhood were full of water by 7 AM, and our street was  flooded.  We had a little over an inch of rain yesterday in our neighborhood according to my weather station.  Big help they were. 

His argument in the editorial is that these extensions are going to somehow make things safer to bicycles.  Given that our street is barely wide enough for one lane of traffic with cars parked on both sides of the street, all the extensions do is force the bikes into the middle of the street.  How does that make anything safer?  It does slow traffic down a lot.  Several times a day,  we have people backing up a half a block to the intersection because there is only enough room for one car on the street at a time.  Prior to the condos, and green streets project, there were often room for two at a time.

The city also has the nerve to expect that the home owners are going to make efforts to clean and maintain these curb extensions.  If by “clean and maintain”, they really mean “ignore”, then I’m all for it.

Back to my initial premise:  These projects are anti-family.  Increased traffic in our neighborhood due to high density housing makes it dangerous for kids to play outside,  no parking near our homes makes it difficult to deal with children (ever had to carry your groceries an extra block in the rain from your car while managing a 3-year old?),  and storm water facilities that don’t really work and just compound the traffic problem.

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Slackers are people too

While reading the summary of Oregon’s benefits from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, I was amused to see that “slackers” are now a Targetted Group that can be used by a business as a tax credit:

“Under current law, businesses are allowed to claim a work opportunity tax credit equal to 40 percent of the first $6,000 of wages paid to employees of one of nine targeted groups … The bill creates two new targeted groups of prospective employees: unemployed veterans and disconnected youth. … An individual qualifies as a disconnected youth if they are between the ages of 16 and 25 and have not been regularly employed or attended school in the past 6 months.”  

Does that mean that we will now see signs outside businesses that say “Slackers Wanted”? 🙂

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South Twin Trip

Our family recently spent nearly a week camping at South Twin Lake, in Oregon.Georgia and I standing in front of South Twin

The lake is a nice place to take a family as no motors are allowed on it. It is stocked fairly frequently with trout, so fishing can be productive too. The first day we went fishing, Lisa’s father and I caught 8 fish between us, and we kept 4 of them.

The evenings (and mornings) were cool, with temperatures in the upper 40s. This is in contrast with the daytime temperatures of mid 80’s to 90’s. The lake is around 4400 feet (according to my GPS), which explains some of the temperature extremes. The campground we stayed at on the lake has lots of large trees, which help with shade, and also kept the wind off the ground.
The trees in the campground can be seen in this picture.
The nights were a lot of fun for everone. Georgia, Morgan and I enjoyed watching the bats fly around. You wouldn’t notice them flying over your head (they fly pretty silently), unless you happened to look up.

The kids enjoyed swimming in the lake, and also enjoyed taking a hike on the trail that surrounds the lake.
Lisa and Morgan taking a break on the hike
There are Osprey that fish in the lake. One evening, Lisa and I saw an Osprey capture a catfish out of the lake. I was surprised that there were catfish in the lake. On our hike around the lake, we saw catfish in the shallows, so I’m sure they are in there.

One of the more impressive views was at night, with the full moon reflecting off of the lake.

Moon reflecting off of South Twin

We also went to Crane Prairie for a day of fishing. It started off very calm.
Crane Prairie before the wind started blowing

The fishing was terrible. Lisa’s father and I spent several hours fishing with no action whatsoever. We came back later with Lisa, and the wind had come up, making things a little more challenging. We had the same result, no action. At least it was nice to look at. The lake is very odd. According to the fish finder, the channels were about 15 feet deep, and the rest of it was 8 to 10 feet.

Crane Prairie once the wind came up

From all the stories that the other people in the campground told, we should have spent the day on Wickiup, as people seemed to be catching larger brown trout there. It is something to try next time.

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Oregon House Bill 3610 and Global Warming

It appears that Oregon House Bill 3610 has been put on hold. This bill was intended to help gather data on greenhouse gas emissions for the 2009 legislative session. Sounds pretty simple. It is ironic considering how Oregon wants to be “a leader in the fight against Global Warming”.

You can encourage your representative to take a different stance on the bill by going here.

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More plunking at Meldrum's Bar

I went Saturday and yesterday to Meldrum’s Bar again to do some steelhead fishing. I hadn’t been there in many months, but things haven’t changed since my last posting on the subject. A lot of the same people still fish there, the fishing success is as sporadic as ever, and the geese are still fighting. The Clackamas County Sherrifs showed up for a while to talk, and I actually had a state trooper check my salmon tag. I now feel justified spending the $46 bucks for the license and tag this year.

I was surprised to see all the boats in the Willamette considering how many logs, trees, and UFOs (Unidentifiable Floating Objects) there were going downstream at a good clip. The water was chocolate brown, and as high as to be expected during this time of year. A bit of excitement occurred when a guy out in a boat seemed to have lost his motor. Steam started pouring out of it pretty close to the mouth of the Clackamas, and everyone watched him as he drifted downstream trying to get it running. He drifted out of site, about that time the police were contacted, but eventually he managed to come back upstream on his own.

There were only two fish landed (almost 3, but the guy’s leader broke when he was hauling the fish on shore) in the 14 hours I was there for the two days. Of course, none of the fish were on my line. This is not the sort of fishing you want to take your kids unless they have infinite patience and you don’t mind them learning a bunch of new four letter words. There is also one guy who thought Hamms is good for breakfast (well 6:30 am, I suppose he could be working nights), so eating habits might be better learned elsewhere… 🙂

I tried to make observations about all the different plunking rigs I saw there, and I’m going to put a posting together that shows pictures of all the different ones I saw.

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Finally landed a salmon…

Lisa’s father and I have been going to the Siuslaw near Mapleton for three years now. This year’s trip, I finally landed my first Chinook Salmon. It was about 36 inches long, and somewhere between twenty and thirty pounds.
My first Chinook Salmon
We caught it while trolling downstream of Mapleton. I count myself lucky in a couple of regards. We had beautiful weather while we were there. A slight chill in the air in the morning, but no rain for the two days we were fishing.
View of the Siuslaw river while bobber fishing
It seemed that fishing was terrible from everyone we talked to. It was midweek, and yet there were lots of boats bobber fishing and trolling. We spent the better part of our first day bobber fishing. Dan caught a “blue back” on his second cast of the day, but we had nothing but “bait stealers” after that. They are some sort of chub that inhabits that part of the river and live in abundance. I guess it is because they are well fed. They manage to strip all the bait off a hook in a couple of minutes, which makes it hard for the bigger fish to get a chance to see it.

After not having a lot of luck for hours bobber fishing, we decided to do some trolling. I was using a “rainbow spinner” that had mostly green on the outside of the spinner blade. You can see the beads in it in the photo of the fish above. Dan was using a “Blue Fox” lure. The fish finder wasn’t showing a lot of fish in the river. We were just about to turn back when I managed to hook into the salmon. It jumped around a bit, and took out a lot of line when it saw the boat, but we managed to land it. I was pretty excited.
Me with the fish
The second day, we spent the whole day trolling. We had hours of no action. Finally, Dan had a fish on. Unfortunately he had some mechanical difficulties with his reel, combined with my inability to pilot the boat well. We lost tension on the line, and ended up losing the fish. This was much better than anyone else was doing. This seems to be the story for every trip we make to Florence to fish on the Siuslaw. This year, we decided to go a little later. Usually we fish late September, but this year it was mid October. There didn’t seem to be that many fish in the river. During the September trips, we always saw fish rolling, but this year we didn’t. I wonder how the fish populations in the river are doing.
A view of the Mapleton bridge from the river

The third day, we went crabbing in Florence. The pier there has been used for years, as evidenced by the marks the ropes left in the wood.
Ropes from years of crabbing have left marks in the wood.

We found lots of crab, but nothing large enough to keep. We did get to experience the view, though, which was certainly worth it.
The Siuslaw river, near the mouth.

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Nice Trip To Lincoln City

Lisa and I had a nice trip to Lincoln City for her birthday last weekend. We stayed at the Starfish Manor, which I would highly recommend. We had a marvelous view of the ocean from our room, as you can see in these images.

Looking South down the Oregon Coast
Looking West from the Oregon Coast
Looking North-ish up the Oregon Coast

The room was just what we were looking for: A quiet place for just the two of us. It had all the things we wanted, and a bit more. The room we were in had a king sized bed, a sofa, dvd/vcr player (which we also used to play audio cds), a couple of nice chairs and a marble topped table, a jetted jacuzzi tub with a view of the ocean, a small “kitchen” area with a refrigerator, sink and microwave, a gas fireplace, a small deck with a bbq and wicker chairs. The bathroom had a two shower heads as well.

View of the bed, sofa and jetted tub in our room at the Starfish Manor
A view of the kitchenette
View of the chairs, journal, table, and fireplace

As you can see in the image with the two chairs, there is a book sitting on the table. It has “Journal” written on the front. It contained entries from various people that had stayed in our room over the years. Lisa added her own entry, so if you ever stay in room “14”, be sure to look for it.

The weather was pretty good for July, so we didn’t spend a lot of daytime in the room. We ate dinner the first night at the marvelous Andaman Thai Restaurant that had been recommended by my parents. They were quite busy, but the food was excellent, and not terribly expensive. Initially, we had ordered a “Papaya Seafood Salad”, but they were out of Papaya. It was suggested that they could make a variation of Larb with the seafood instead, and we agreed. Unfortunately, it was too hot to eat. I’m normally not shy about spicy food. I like Habaneros, but the Larb with seafood was downright unpleasant. I made the mistake of wiping my nose with the napkin after wiping my mouth, and my septum was burning for a while. The other food was appropriately spiced and quite delicious.

The next day we went to Depoe Bay to walk through the shops and get Morgan some salt water taffy. On the way there, it was low tide, and Lisa was amazed to see Siletz Bay as low as it was.
Lisa with Siletz Bay at low tide in the background

We ate a passable lunch at Gracie’s Sea Hag, and headed back to Lincoln City.

I had purchased some nice steaks at Zupan’s before we left town. We used the BBQ on the deck and had a nice dinner looking out over the ocean.
Setting the table before our dinner

We spent a little time at the casino in Lincoln City, and more time at the outlet mall there. Lisa enjoyed herself for her birthday. It was great to get out of town, and have some time together.

Sunset as seen from our room at the Starfish Manor in Lincoln City

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Plunking at Meldrum Bar

I have been spending some parts of some of my weekends trying to catch a Steelhead at Meldrum Bar in Gladstone, Oregon. I’ve been using a technique called “Plunking”. The name sounds derogatory, and I believe it is intended to be. Plunking is generally looked down on by “real fishermen” whoever they are. I’ve been using it as a means to get some “me time” without a lot of driving, as well as an opportunity to see a different segment of society that I don’t normally.

Typically, the weather is terrible. It is usually cold, and rainy. I’ve been going some various weekend days since the middle of December. Occasionally it is a nice day on the bar. This photo is an example.
Plunking on the Willamette at Meldrum Bar

Plunking, involves hammering a pole holder in the ground, setting up a heavy weight rod with heavy weight line, and using a spin-n-glo, or something similar anchored by a heavy weight above the lure. This is cast into the river. The spin-n-glo floats a bit on its own, and the current makes it spin in place. Some place bells on their poles so they know when a fish decides to commit suicide on the gear. On a good day, I’ve seen five fish landed in a ten hour period. A typical day only one or two fish are landed.

The people that regularly commit time to this odd form of fishing are odd themselves. Many of them are retirees, that appreciate the proximity to their homes, as well as the ability to go crawl into their vehicles when the weather turns bad. Did I mention that you can just about drive up to the water?
Drive into the water, why don't you?

Most of the people there drive American vehicles and use the “F” word as an “every-other-word” concept in English language construction, both of which I choose not to adopt. Aside from a bit of brusque language, the people are generally friendly. This is a positive, because as I mentioned before, when the weather is nice, it gets very crowded. I’ve seen over 40 poles in the water, with about 6 feet of ground between them. This situation leads to regular tangles, and few fish caught. Fortunately the tempers seem to stay in check. The Gladstone sheriffs make regular drives through the area just to make sure.

The only fighting I’ve seen is from the local fowl population. There are a good collection of geese, and ducks that seem to hang around all the time. They get regular feedings from the kids that show up, which must encourage the birds to remain. Occasionally one of the birds does something antisocial to one of the other birds. This leads to a large amount of carrying on and occasionally some feathers flying. I’m glad this, and the occasional fish death on the bar, is the limit of the violence there.

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Diamond Lake fishing

We recently went on a trip to Diamond Lake to get in some fishing prior to the treatment of the lake. The hope was that fishing would be good since the lake had been drained down to 80% of normal. It wasn’t good at all. Dan was the only one that caught trout. He caught a nice 17″ fish and a couple of smaller ones.
Dan's trout

Morgan had a good time catching chub. He didn’t care about trout, to him, catching anything was fun. He caught 26 of them in about an hour.

Morgan fishing for Chub

It sounds like the lake will be better off in about three or four years.

Building a new dock
They are building a new dock, and hopefully they will do some work on the cabins. The screen doors wouldn’t stay closed, and considering the number of mosquitos there, it was a real problem. The bathrooms were ok, but the caulking around the shower was just disgusting. There was a black mold or mildew growing underneath it. Ewww.

In any regard, we had a good time. It was nice to get out of town and not think about work for a few days, even if the fishing was terrible.

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Email to Chief Sizer – lack of citations…

I sent the following email to Portland Police Chief Sizer with no response at all.

Hello Chief Sizer,

I’m concerned with the Portland Police’s policies toward illegal fireworks, as well as the lack of desire for officers to cite “small offenses”. I live on the corner of 44th and Clay in Southeast Portland, a block off of the busy Hawthorne avenue. We have been battling problems with drug dealers, stolen cars, abandonded cars, and loitering homeless. All of these problems have been getting better over time. There is another issue that comes about each year. It seems every year around the 4th of July and New Year’s Eve, the instances of illegal fireworks in Portland appears in our neighborhood.

From my personal perspective it is getting worse. There are more instances of firecrackers, shells, and other air based displays. I believe that the Portland Police don’t really care about the use of illegal fireworks.

As an example, on Saturday night (July 8th) at 11pm, someone in the neighborhood was setting off skyrockets (much louder than standard bottle rockets) every once in a while. My wife and I went to bed. At 2am, the explosions were a lot louder and more frequent. I looked out the window to see showers of sparks resulting from the skyrockets exploding above our house. I changed my clothes to go out and find the people responsible. By the time I got outside (not two minutes later), I saw that there were lights from a patrol car flashing on Hawthorne. I saw two individuals sitting on the corner. I walked up to the intersection and watched the proceedings. The officer gave one individual his license back, and the individuals walked away. It was pretty clear that these were the guys responsible for the fireworks. I approached the officer, and he didn’t seem to care about the problem we had been experiencing. He told me he was “cutting them loose”, and wouldn’t say anything beyond that. I would assume he would at least cite them for the fireworks. While I appreciate the officer’s presence, I certainly didn’t appreciate his lack of action, nor his lack of sympathy for my frustration.

We live in the city. As a result, we have some expectation that people are going to be unpleasant from time to time. Living in the city, though, we also have the expectation that Portland City Police officers are going to make an effort to enforce the laws, not just the ones that are convenient.

As an example, in the past, I have caught homeless people in my yard urinating on the property. The Police were called (via the non-emergency number), and the Police response was to ask them to leave. I made it plain to the operator, and the officer on site what I had witnessed. I’m pretty sure that urination in public is an offense that warrants a citation. While I think it is likely that a homeless person will fail to pay for a citation, or fail to appear in court, failure to cite them also leaves their record clean. In my mind this just compounds the problem. If they had been cited, and failed to appear, the offense would appear the next time the Police checked their identification.

Thanks for your time.

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